Edelstein. Difference between dreams and reality
Photo: Haim Zach
Abbas maintains right of resistance
Edelstein: Fatah congress a declaration of war
Information minister launched scathing attack on Palestinian President Abbas, his people. 'The most violent and extreme settlement of all is the Palestinian state, which will be established by the moderates who call for an armed struggle and the right of return,' he says
Information and Diaspora Minister Yuli Edelstein (Likud) on Tuesday referred to the Fatah congress being held in Bethlehem as "a declaration of war."
"We must not act as if we haven't heard," he told Ynet. "We must emerge from the circle of illusions that these are moderates who want peace. They explicitly say that they support continuing the armed struggle."
Minister Edelstein addressed remarks made by Fatah strongman and others, who have said that they will not give up the armed struggle. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas himself said during the conference that alongside the choice of peace, "resistance" was still an option.
"Are these the moderate leaders the world wants us to hold negotiations with?" he asked. "My feeling is that we are not interested in listening to the voices calling for an armed struggle, for the right of return and for the establishment of a capital of their own in Jerusalem.
"We are pretending not to hear the clear trend demonstrated by Abu Mazen (Abbas) and his people to adapt themselves to Hamas," the information minister said.
"Our main task is to act in the international arena and explain the difference between dreams and reality," he continued. "There they are doing the easiest thing – accusing Israel of refusing to freeze construction in Jerusalem. They don't see that what is happening in Bethlehem and what is being said there is not being said by Hamas, Hezbollah or (Syrian President) Bashar Assad.
"This is Fatah we are talking about, those who the international community is allegedly pushing us to negotiate with. If anyone should talk about settlements endangering peace, the most violent and extreme settlement is the Palestinian state, which will be established and run by the 'moderate' speaking today at the Fatah conference."
Edelstein called on the government to continue the Israeli construction in the West Bank and Jerusalem. He claimed that the Palestinian Authority in Nablus and Jenin was acting against Hamas for its own benefit, and not for peace with Israel.
"It's all a result of the internal power struggles. They want to oppress Hamas. The competition is not over who will control the area and manage peace, but rather who will lead the struggle against Israel. Those who really seek peace are not taking today in Bethlehem about an armed struggle."
Edelstein's remarks followed a warning issued Monday night by former Shin Bet chief, Knesset Member Avi Dichter (Kadima), who said that the Fatah conference could lead to a third intifada.